Genre: Fantasy Age Range: Adult Star Rating: 4 stars Series: yes - first of two companion books
When the world was young and Gods still walked among their mortal children, a headstrong orphan boy set out to explore the world. Thus began the extraordinary adventures that would mould that youthful vagabond into a man, and the man into the finely honed instrument of Prophecy known to all the world as Belgarath the Sorcerer.
Then came the dark day when the Dark God Torak split the world asunder, and the God Aldur and his disciples began their monumental labour to set Destiny aright. Foremost among their number was Belgarath. His ceaseless devotion was foredoomed to cost him that which he held most dear – even as his loyal service would extend through echoing centuries of loss, of struggle, and of ultimate triumph.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
This is the first of a few companion novels set in the world of The Belgariad and The Malloreon, which recounts the life of Belgarath the Sorcerer. It’s definitely something that existing fans of the serieses will get far more out of than someone new to the world, because it’s about spending more time in the world and filling in blanks.
Most of the book covers events that the reader will already have heard about – the cracking of the world, Cherek Bear-Shoulders and his sons stealing the orb, the battle of Vo Mimbre etc. However, they’ve often not come with many details in the main books (probably for flow and page count! Vo Mimbre takes A LOT of space to tell in full.) This book is therefore those events in their entirety. The ending does say that it’s only half the story, and Polgara’s companion book with tell the rest, but this one’s covered all the major events.
I really liked that. I’d not read this one before (and I was very glad the narrator was the same as the one who did The Belgariad and The Malloreon as it means pronunciations and accents were constant.) I read the first bit a long time ago, but never got into it. But this time I did, and I really liked going into all the detail.
Vo Mimbre was probably my favourite bit. In the serieses, it’s sort of glossed over as a big battle, but this shows how long the campaign was (almost two decades by my campaign.) I really appreciated seeing how big and messy and costly such pivotal fantasy battles are. They have consequences, and Eddings definitely showed more and better in his later books (The Elenium is good for that too.)
Unlike the other books in this world, this one is told in first person, as it is Belgarath’s account of his life. It helped set this one apart from the main serieses (Sorry, it is a horrible word, but what’s the plural?) The first person also fully bring Belgarath’s voice to life, and there’s quite a dry undercurrent to it that I enjoyed.
Unlike the books I’ve reviewed so far, this one is credited to David Eddings AND his wife Leigh. Apparently his wife helped write all the books, but the publisher thought his name alone would sell better, so it’s only on the later, companion books (and one standalone) that she’s also credited.
I’m rather curious to see what Polgara’s book can possibly add, now all the major events have been covered so that will probably be my next audio book.
Read my reviews of other books by David Eddings:
The Belgariad (first series set in this world):
- PAWN OF PROPHECY (#1)
- QUEEN OF SORCERY (#2)
- MAGICIAN’S GAMBIT (#3)
- CASTLE OF WIZARDRY (#4)
- ENCHANTER’S END GAME (#5)
The Malloreon (second series set in this world):
- GUARDIANS OF THE WEST (#1)
- KING OF THE MURGOS (#2)
- DEMON LORD OF KARANDA (#3)
- SORCERESS OF DARSHIVA (#4)
- SEERESS OF KELL (#5)
Companions to the Belgariad and the Malloreon:
- THE DIAMOND THRONE (#1)
- THE RUBY KNIGHT (#2)
- THE SAPPHIRE ROSE (#3)
The Tamuli (chronologically after the Elenium):
- DOME OF FIRE (#1)
- THE SHINING ONES (#2)
- THE HIDDEN CITY (#3)